Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
September 29, 2003
WCR Letters to the Editor
The primary basis of evil is inequality - philosopher
Canadians don't have many constraints on their freedom of expression compared to citizens of many other countries. But the range and effectiveness of the methods employed (government hype, media selection and spin, business advertising, cultural entertainment, school curricula etc.) to restrain freedom of thought is overwhelming.
One assumption is that poverty results from poor people's lack of effort - laziness. They don't take advantage of the ubiquitous "equality of opportunity" in the vaunted "free enterprise" system. Not mentioned is that equality of opportunity necessarily depends on who owns and controls the very limited resources made available to them.
Two hundred and fifty years ago, a French philosopher observed, "the primary basis of evil is inequality." And that is what mass or systemic poverty is - gross economic inequality, the greatest social evil - ugly, degrading - and not something chosen by poor people. They desperately want to get out from under it. But all too often they can't; there are not enough decent-paying jobs. Systemic poverty results from human decisions made by those in power; it is not a law of nature.
"Savage capitalism" creates winners and losers. The so-called "free market" has never provided enough employment. On the contrary, even if every job vacancy was filled, there would still be well over one million Canadians out of work. Yet the impoverished are usually blamed for their own plight and held in contempt, despite the fact that many of them are not competitively employable.
In capitalist democracies, governments' transfer our (public) wealth (income plus resources) to dominant elites - the already rich and privileged. This is accomplished through the unfair tax system, protectionist tariffs and quotas, and direct corporate welfare (subsidies).
At the same time, they rely on big business, especially to buy elections, and together they form a mutually beneficial cartel. Government is big business.
We are indoctrinated to focus on individual cases of poverty. This diverts our attention away from those responsible for its structural manufacture. Governments further impose mass poverty by legislating minimum wage rates that pay well below the poverty line.
These laws drive down labour costs so that publicly unaccountable, anti-democratic, private tyrannies - corporations - can profiteer more. Power and wealth concentrates.
In Canada, poverty has worsened in the past 20 years. Nearly one in five lives below Statistics Canada's Low-Income Cut-Off Line. A fair and caring Canada won't be realized through institutional charity which perpetuates poverty. Instead, we must constantly demand that our public servants (governments at all levels) live up to their democratic responsibilities.
Chief among them are "vigorously pursuing the common good" (economic democracy) so as to fairly share the wealth, and engaging the population in important decision-making. You won't get that message in the corporate media.
More thoughts on Galileo
It is unfortunate that the WCR was unable to reprint the last three sentences of the original CNS article by John Thavis on Galileo (Sept. 8), because the abbreviated WCR ending gives a regrettable impression that Galileo was right while the Church was wrong. Also, the title of the original - "Vatican official says stories about Galileo often oversimplified" - gives Thavis' article an entirely different connotation.
There is plenty of available scholarly evidence to show that the Church acted very leniently towards this renegade hero of modern science whose arrogance and obstinate errors in basic philosophy were the real cause of his condemnation.
In the omitted ending Archbishop Amato stressed the need to debunk the popular myths about Galileo, especially the myth that Galileo was incarcerated and tortured, when in fact, he lived comfortably, served by the official servants, under a sort of Club-Med style house confinement in the luxurious apartments of one of the highest Church officials, while being allowed to study, write and receive guests from the Protestant countries who brought him money and gifts, and took his more controversial manuscripts back for publication and dissemination.
As far as his health was concerned, there is further evidence that Galileo, when losing his eyesight, was actually brought at the Church expense to Florence for examination and treatment by an eye specialist.
The Church's concern for Galileo's health is only an opening chapter in the reconstruction of the whole misconstrued affair. There is a lot more that needs to be clarified - Galileo's false scientific theories which certainly did not add credibility to his own scientific prestige at that time, his friendship with the pope of whom he later hypocritically made fun, his alleged membership in the anti-Catholic secret society of naturalists to which several of Galileo's close friends and rich sponsors belonged, his rather warm relationship with the Protestant scientists and publishers who had their own axe to grind, not to mention the real issue, which was Galileo's pernicious and covertly attack on the basic philosophical premises which govern the issues of faith, reason and science, and of which the authority of the Church is the rightful guardian.
Ideological, cultural civil war rages
The campaign to legitimize and to legalize same-sex marriage has reached new heights of social lunacy.
Throughout the history of the world the five major religions and the major civilizations have not legitimized and mainstreamed homosexual marriages in their culture. Have we become so wise and "progressive" we can deny 5,000 years of history and religion? Not all so-called "social evolution" is positive.
We have become a "rights (without responsibilities) crazed" culture. Trudeau's inspiration - the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - is susceptible to social engineering. This is its weakness. It has allowed judges to express political bias and to make laws at the expense of traditional values.
With the help of Hollywood, liberal mainstream media and the use of the public education system, the "gay" agenda has been successfully marketed and sold. It is not by accident that people feel a twinge of guilt if they speak out against it.
Gay activists have been able to access ample funding from governments that favour these causes. Systematically, they have been able to fight and win court case after court case, each time watering down traditional family and Judeo-Christian values. The federal Liberals have consistently permitted this social engineering.
Liberals, led by Chretien and Martin, the courts and the radical special interest groups have formed a symbolic relationship. They are elitist and dictatorial. The average Canadian has little say.
Hooray for the Catholic Church and others who are speaking out against homosexual "marriage." Some are saying this is the Church trying to control the state. Nonsense. We already have a state religion controlling us. Informal and unstructured as it may be, the state religion of Canada is secular humanism - where situation ethics are the belief and where Jean Chretien and his appointed Supreme Court judges are the high priests.
The fact is we are in an ideological and cultural civil war in this country. In this war, truth, traditional marriage and family values are the casualties. In this war, our children are the prize.